Tuesday, June 30, 2015

OREGON: Cannon Beach | Part 2

You can read part 1 here. The Oregon coast is too incredible for just one round of photos!
The following are also from Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park & One view of the Dunes from the road.

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

OREGON: Cannon Beach | Part 1

On our Pacific Coast Road Trip, we tried to stick to the coast as often as possible. This lead us down the Oregon Coast to some beautiful beaches before we made our way to Portland. After Astoria, we stopped at Fort Stevens State Park, Ecola State Park & Cannon Beach.

Fort Stevens State Park has plenty to offer that we were not able to see, however we did make sure to stop and see The Wreck of Peter Iredale. While it's only the skeleton of a shipwreck, it does make for an interesting photo subject. There were some families with children playing in the area but we managed to get some photo opportunities in.

Cannon Beach & Ecola State Park are notable for the beaches & unique rock formations, but these were also filming locations for The Goonies.

The most iconic formation on Cannon Beach is Haystack Rock. It is nearly impossible to show how grand this formation is in person.

In Ecola State Park, you can drive up a windy, dark, forested road to get to a higher point for a panoramic view of Cannon Beach. You will also realize that this the same drive that the kids rode their bikes on while starting their adventure in the movie. It was a beautiful drive just to get to the park itself.

After our time in Portland, we did visit the Oregon coast one more time to head to Bandon, where you can find several notable rock formations including the Wizards Hat.

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Whats In My Camera Bag

Kaili, here. Today, I'd like to share a little something behind the scenes. Many of the photos (but not all of them) you see on this blog are taken by me. Photography has long been a passion of mine, and I thought it would be fun to show you what I carry around with me when I travel.

I love seeing what equipment others use, so please post about your favorite gear in the comments!

The Bag

I recently purchased this Amazon Basics Camera Backpack specifically for travel & hiking. While I do have a more fashionable camera bag, I needed something with a lot of support that was light weight enough for me to carry on challenging hikes. This was my choice based on the low price & available storage space.

The inside compartments are attached with velcro, and so you can customize it based on your needs. Mine is often a bit messy because of how often I am using it, but here is a look at the chaos inside.

First off, my weapon of choice: the Nikon D5000. I purchased this camera years ago and it has done me well. It's got a variety of custom settings and I find it is easy to use. I have been using Nikon since I started in photography, and while I wouldn't mind an upgrade - this camera has been very good to me!

The remaining items in my camera bag are some additional/specialty lenses, a wireless remote, and a hard case for my memory cards.

The wireless remote is great and easy to program. It's perfect for when you want a photo on a trail but there is no one else to take your photo. The hard memory card case ensures that all of my memories are kept safe in case of any mishaps. The most important thing, are the photos I take. The gear is replaceable. 

The closeup lens kit is an affordable alternative to a macro lens. It's lightweight (great for travel) and easy to use. You just attach a magnifying lens to the end of whichever lens you are using, and it allows for macro photos. The kit also comes with some filters. It's great for anyone who is interested in trying macro photography, but doesn't want to make the hundred+ dollar investment that a full macro lens can cost.

The Lenses

While I've yet to replace my 55mm kit lens, I haven't really felt the need to. This lens comes with the camera and is great for general use. This, and the 14mm are my most commonly used lenses. The 14mm lens is fantastic for landscape photos. There is some distortion due to the rounded glass of the lens, but I find that it adds interest to photos.

Additionally, but less commonly used, are my fisheye lens & my 300mm lens. The fisheye is a fun, novelty lens that can make for some fun shots of landscapes and wildlife. The quality is not fantastic, but it can add some unique shots to your portfolio of a landscape or location that is often photographed. The 300mm lens is great for wildlife - especially birds or anything that may be far away. It's easy to get a clear photo with this lens, as long as the subject is not too close or too far.

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

OREGON: Astoria

One of the places we really wanted to check out along our way down the coast was Astoria. A convenient stop on our way down the coast towards Portland, Astoria was made famous by the 1980s film The Goonies (one of Josh's favorites). This little marine town is located right on the Washington and Oregon border so it's pretty hard to miss.

We got to see all the famous town locations from the movie including: the bowling alley (pizza joint), Mikey's house (the owners of the house encourage movie fans to come see the house but to be respectful of the property and surrounding neighbors), the Flavel House and Museum (library) and Oregon Film Museum (jail). It was a very surreal experience to be able to see all these locations, but even if you're not a movie fan - Astoria is a beautiful, small, beachy, artsy town.

The best location for landscape photos would have to be the Astoria Column. 600 feet above sea level, the column offers a great view of the entire city. It's a small climb up a winding spiral staircase, but the panoramic view is worth it.

After going on our own Goonie adventure around town we stopped at a quaint Indian restaurant for some nourishment before heading out of town to see some other filming locations and scenic sites. 

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Friday, June 12, 2015


After spending our first entire day in Washington with nature (at the beautiful Mt. Rainier National Park), we decided to spend our second day with the people of the city of Seattle. Seattle is a port city so there is a lot of commerce that involves fishing and boating (Josh says it reminds him of the Chicago). We decided to make our first stop an obvious one: the famous Pike Place (which also includes the first Starbucks store).

Pike Place Public Market
Pike Place is a colorful arena of handmade crafts, fresh produce, and beautiful views of the waterfront. One of the oldest continuing Farmer's Markets in the country - Pike Place has a lot to offer. Even if you don't need to pick up any produce, strolling through the market is a great way to spend some time.

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
Located on the Seattle Waterfront at Pier 54, we made our way to Ye Olde Curiosity Shop after stopping at a Starbucks (though not the nation's first) to caffeinate. Curiosity shops are a must-see for us on our travels. If you know of any good ones in your area, let us know! Ye Olde Curiosity shop is a fun stop, full of Washington history.

Space Needle
Of course we just had to stop and see the most iconic image of Seattle - the 605 ft tall Space Needle. Built in 1962, the Space Needle stands out along with Mt. Rainier on the Seattle landscape. The Space Needle along with the EMP Museum and Chihuly Glass and Gardens are all located in the same area along Broad Street so you can venture to all 3 within a brisk walk around a small park. We did not have a chance to take the ride to the top but got a few pictures around the needle and traversed the huge gift shop inside.

Experience Music Project (EMP) Museum
The EMP museum was a surprise location for us. The museum is catered for music + sci-fi + pop culture so both of us were very excited since these three subjects are at the top of our interests. At the time we were there they were featuring a few exciting exhibits including: A Tribute to Nirvana, Can't Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film, and Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic as well as tributes to Hendrix and other Seattle notables.  We got to see a lot here and were surprised to find many original costumes and accessories from some of our favorite movies and shows including Labyrinth and Game of Thrones. It was a great place to nerd out.

Washington State Ferry
The ferry is the best way to get a view of the city's coast line. For around $8 you can take a quick tour from Seattle to Bainbridge and back again. The ferry is incredibly smooth, so this is a great option even for those who are sensitive to sea sickness. This is also the best way to get a view of the beautiful Seattle Waterfront from a far. We got some great pictures in on our ride.

All in all, we really enjoyed the city. We like to split our trips up with equal bouts city life and country life. Keep posted for more entries about this west coast road trip.

You can read our other entries about Washington here

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